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Constructing Social Futures conference, Turku

Constructing Social Futures – Sustainability, Responsibility and Power conference took place between 12-13th of June in Turku, Finland, bringing together the foresight community. The theme was the concept of agency in action and research for futures. ‘Constructing Futures’ emphasizes opportunities and challenges related to the need for building and critically evaluating capabilities necessary for sustainable futures. This conference created a cross-disciplinary platform where participants could meet, share, and discuss new ideas concerning social futures. These two days consisted of keynote lectures, parallel sessions, participatory workshops and chaired poster session, from multidisciplinary topics.

The fist keynote presentation was held by Dr. Ivana Milojević (Metafuture) about the Power for, against, with and within: Futures studies as practice. Ivana’s set the tone for the conference with her passionate talk addressing two central questions: “Can futures studies, as a practice, make a difference?”, and “To what extent are futures being constructed through participation that reflects moral agency and leads to better futures for all?”. The second keynote presentation was given by Professor Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh) about the Heritage Futures: Tradition, Gain, Sustainability. The afternoon continued with 7 paralel sessions for ~15 minute presentations on topics such as Combining corporate foresight with corporate social responsibility and Citizen science, power, responsibility and foresight.

LPRC was represented by Tamas Miklovicz, who gave a presentation about the Application of foresight methods in the research of a disruptive geothermal technology (CHPM), in the session on Foresight activities and their effect on sustainability transitions. The presentation was focusing on the methodological aspect of how to make use of foresight tools for such a challenging technology. The presentation was well received and participants appreciated the robust methodology behind the CHPM roadmapping process. You can have a look at Tamas’s presentation in  the video below:

The second day continued with sessions and workshops on topics like Back to the futures we want: Envisioning and backcasting for Sustainable futures, and Utopias to combat futures by-negation, and The roles of futures studies in the negotiation of values and desired futures. The event was concluded with two keynote presentations. First Professor Keri Facer talked about All our futures? Climate change, democracy and missing public spaces. The second was given by Professor Ted Fuller On responsible futures: What can we do, what should we do?

All keynote speakers were donated a ~3 hectare peatland in Finland. Peatlands are the largest natural terrestrial carbon store, and among the most important ecosystems on Earth*, also helping us to reduce carbon footprint of the anthropocene.

You can read the Book of Abstract here and you may rediscover the event on Twitter following the #futuresconference2019.

The Futures Conference 2019 was very inspiring! Many great ideas have been shared, discussed and agreed about building a more sustainable future. After the conference, arriving home, the real question remains: are we going to plant these seeds into our everyday life to nurture a sustainable future? We all hope that we do indeed, throughout our everyday decisions.

*https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/peatlands-and-climate-change

UNEXMIN presented at AIMS 2019, Aachen

On the 13th and 14th of June, during the AIMS – Aachen International Mining Symposia – 2019, Luís Lopes, from LPRC, gave a talk about the development and current state of the UNEXMIN, under the Second International Conference “Mines of the future”. UNEXMIN is developing an exploration technology that might be part of a vision where mines are innovative and sustainable.

The two days event counted with numerous personnel from academia, research, industry and governmental bodies, all interested or involved in mining and related topics. There has been a number of keynote talks and presentations, divided into sessions and a panel discussion, fostering dialogue on the different emerging topics.

The first day started with three keynote talks about the sustainability of mining in the present and future, and on the current best practices. Six main sessions succeeded, with 4 to 5 presentations per session:

  1. Science: Tailings & Mine wastes
  2. Technology: Digitalisation
  3. Science: Methods & measurements
  4. Science: Mining challenges
  5. Technology: Equipment & methods
  6. Innovation: Modelling

The UNEXMIN project was introduced under session 5 – Technology: Equipment & methods, by Luís Lopes: “Re-exploring flooded mines: the UNEXMIN unique robotic solution”. The talk was well received by the audience, which showed big interest in a number of questions that focused on the technology as well as on policy aspects on its application.

On the second day, two parallel sessions kickstarted discussions: 1) Technology: Resource extraction and 2) Technology: New systems. A unique session on “Responsibility: Engagement and closure” ended the talks of the conference, right before the final panel discussion on the “Mines of the future need to be different from those of today!”.

Posters sessions and exhibitions of mining companies completed a very innovative and interesting event. The network possibilities with partners from different areas of the globe and the raw materials value chain were also very welcome.

It was a great pleasure that LPRC and the UNEXMIN project was represented in an important discussions about the present and future of mining activities, spanning through all the value chain, from exploration to exploitation and even to mine closure and remediation.

LPRC is actively taking part of a change that is already ongoing!

UNEXMIN presented at EGU 2019, Vienna

The UNEXMIN project was presented by LPRC’s member Luís Lopes during this year’s EGU General Assembly meeting, held in Vienna, between the 7th and 12th of April. The overview of the current and future state of the project was presented to a geoscientists audience, interested in  the future state of the mineral exploration sector.

UNEXMIN’s presentation on EGU 2019 was inserted on the session ITS2.2/ERE4.4 – The New Roadmap for Mineral Exploration: Challenges and Innovative approachesLuís Lopes’s talk on UNEXMIN, entitled “UNEXMIN: an innovative approach for mineral exploration in flooded mines “, focused on the project’s innovative solution that aims to contribute to mineral exploration and mapping of flooded underground mines in Europe, without major costs or associated risks. The past, present and future of the technology were covered within the discussed topics that included the development of the robotic system and the field trials.

During the presentation on the project, there were a roomful of 60 people present. A session on Questions and Answers after the talk provided more input on the project to the session participants. It should be noted that the presentation had a positive and intriguiging effect on the audience: a great part showed interest either by making questions during the Q&A session or by directly talking to the presenter after the talk.

Luís Lopes also assisted to the debate on “Science in policymaking: Who is responsible?” and discussed poster presentations on new innovative approaches in mining with their authors during the poster session. LPRC’s line of work directly shines under geoscience and policy making, and therefore, this was a good opportunity to learn about the state of play in these fields.

Link to the debate on “Science in policymaking” debate: https://client.cntv.at/egu2019/gdb2

The UNEXMIN project was communicated and disseminated with LPRC’s efforts once again!

UNEXMIN present at the EU Industry Days 2019, Brussels

The UNEXMIN project was present at the EU Industry Days 2019 in Brussels. The event, during the 5th and 6th of February, brought together many stakeholders from the most diverse industrial sectors within Europe and beyond, also including researchers and governmental bodies. Some European funded projects were invited to showcase their innovations and impact in the EU industry landscape. This was the case for UNEXMIN.

During both days of the event the UNEXMIN project booth conveyed a lot of interest from the participants that visited the exhibition area. The UNEXMIN stand counted with three Consortium partner and one robot, the first UX-1 prototype. From La Palma Research Centre, Luís Lopes was present to help in communicating the project to a very diverse audience.

The presence of the UX-1 robot at the UNEXMIN stand surely invited people to come and discuss about the robot itself and the project overall. Past, present and future developments were among discussions as were some future commercial perspectives where the innovative UNEXMIN technology can be applied.

In the end of the event, the UNEXMIN team felt that this was a great opportunity to disseminate and communicate about the project and was very glad to be invited to such an important event. Mission accomplished!

 

¡VAMOS! Open Day and Advisory Board meeting, Nenagh, Ireland

The ¡VAMOS! project is now having its second field trials where the mining technology developed by a team of European researchers and companies is being tested and constantly improved. In Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! project found the perfect place to test its equipment in an open-pit flooded mine, resulting from an abandoned mine site. Together with the Open Day, where the team showed the technology in action to a number of stakeholders, technical and advisory board meetings also happened during the 24 and 25 of October.

On the 23rd of October, the ¡VAMOS! team held a technical meeting reserved to the partners that are involved in developing the many specialised bits that compose the ¡VAMOS! technology: the mining vehicle and the Launch and Recovery Vessel are just a few examples. During this meeting partners discussed the current state of their specific components and of the technology as a whole. Discussions led into a planned line of work that will translate into further improvement of the technology even during the field trials period in Ireland – that should extend for a few more weeks.

Then on the 24th, coupled with presentations on the project, local geology and mining history of Nenagh and Ireland, the ¡VAMOS! team held an Open Day during which around 80 visitors had the chance to see the innovative mining technology in action. Visitors were divided into groups and introduced to see different parts of the technology at a time. This allowed the visitors to have a better look and understanding of the technology. The visitors gave input to the project, both on engagement and exploitation that will surely be helpful to the project.

The last day of this period, the 25th, included both an Advisory Board meeting in the morning and an Exploitation Workshop in the afternoon. During the Advisory Board meeting, the ¡VAMOS! line of work was presented to environmental and mining experts with the aim to get their opinions and advice on the development of the technology, what should still be done and how. Fruitful input from the experts was given and it will surely benefit the project development as a whole.

To this, the Exploitation workshop followed. During this, the ¡VAMOS! partners had an intensive discussion on the future of the project and how to capitalise on the project’s innovative mining technology. How, when, what and who, were some of the questions around the future that were posed and answered by the consortium.

All in all, these few days were very benefitial, not only for the project partners that had interesting discussions as well as received input from expert stakeholders, but also to the visitors – geologists, researchers, locals – that had a unique chance to see the ¡VAMOS! technology in action. Their support to the team is a good tonic for the future that is to come!

LPRC at the 2nd SISBRAMME event, Porto Alegre

On May 3, LPRC joined the 2nd SISBRAMME (South Brazilian Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Symposium) held at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil. This annual event is a joint effort from both the local SME (Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration) and the SEG (Society of Economic Geologists) student chapters. The 2018 edition’s theme was “Base Industries” and LPRC brought in a presentation entitled “Technological Innovations in Mining – Case Studies in Europe”, providing an overview over the portfolio of projects the company has been involved in recently and also the European context for research & innovation in the mineral raw materials sector. The event was attended by students, professors and local industry representatives.

The region of south Brazil is currently experiencing a renewed interest in mining through advanced projects (Phosphate and Zinc), prospect of new ones (Nickel and Gold), deep-sea mining and socio-political debates over environmental impacts and the future of local coal mining. Our Foresight expert and representative Marco Konrat Martins underlined the importance of Foresight as a powerful tool to help researchers, policy-makers and industry to deal with the diversity of expectations and the uncertainties stemming from mineral resources exploitation.

INTERMIN Kick off Meeting

Between the 13th and 15th of February, the INTERMIN (International Network of Raw Materials Training Centres) Consortium and Advisory Board members gathered together in Brussels, Belgium, for the kick-off meeting of INTERMIN – a 36-month H2020 Project aiming at the creation of a self-sustainable long-term lasting international network of training centres for the raw materials sector.

For that, scoping and mapping activities will be undertaken internationally, collecting information of relevant raw materials-related skills from training institutions around the globe offering a wide variety of programmes and courses. This will be followed by an assessment of the employers’ needs in terms of skills and knowledge as a means of analysing the existing gaps in the sector. This will be projected into short, medium and long timeframes. Once the gaps are identified and better understood, enhanced approaches and actions will be appraised for responding to these gaps in the sector, creating a new paradigm for international training centres in the raw materials sector.

LPRC is leading Work Package 2 (WP2): Raw materials sector skills, gaps and needs. The main tasks will be assessing the employers’ needs and developing a competency model for the raw materials sector. For that, LPRC will work closely with its project partners, particularly the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the French Geological Survey (BRGM).

Read more about the project at this summary.

 

¡VAMOS! & UNEXMIN joint conference, Bled

On the January 30, the Hotel Kompas in Bled, Slovenia, hosted the “Use of Robotics and Automation for Mineral Prospecting and Extraction”, a joint conference of UNEXMIN, ¡VAMOS! and Real Time Mining Projects. The conference was led by Gorazd Zibret from the Geological Survey of Slovenia. The 1-day conference featured the latest research in a variety of topics related to robotics and automation and their application to exploration and extraction of mineral raw materials. It started with a plenary session featuring presentations such as “Advances in Subsea Mining” (Stef Kapusniak) and “Future Mining: Scenarios and Roadmaps (an international review)” (Marco Konrat Martins, LPRC).

The conference was then divided into two parallel sessions: one related to Hardware developments moderated by Norbert Zajzon (University of Miskolc) and the other related to Software developments moderated by Steve Henley (Resource Computing International).

After the lunch break, the conference resumed with a plenary session introducing the leading projects. LPRC presented “UNEXMIN project: an underwater explorer for flooded mines” (Luís Lopes).

UNEXMIN / ¡VAMOS! workshops

During the afternoon, the participants were divided in two interactive workshops: one dedicated to exploitation of the technologies, the other to future research and technology roadmap planning.

On the exploitation workshop participants were called to answer three questions. The input will then be used to adapt better exploitation measures for both projects. The questions were: (1) What is the best the best exploitation strategy for project participants?, (2) How to persuade customers to buy/invest into new technologies? and, (3) How and where to get additional funds for the projects’ development?.

The research roadmap workshop focussed on analysing future scenarios and how the technologies can adapt to specific changes in the raw materials sector. Then, participants helped in the identification of future prospects in three main areas: geological data collection, spatial awareness and navigation, and extraction. The data will be used to define possible research/technology pathways for both projects for the short, medium and long-term future.

MICA Final Consortium Meeting, Brussels

On January 23, the Horizon 2020 MICA (Mineral Intelligence Capacity Analysis) project held its final meeting in Brussels, Belgium, after two years of lifetime.

The final one-day event had the objective of recollecting all the work done throughout the many Work Packages, the current state and the plans for the future. During the day, presentations were given for each work package – in a total of 7, outlining their work, deliverables and reports, and major findings to the audience.

MICA partners present at the Final Consortium meeting

Some of the main products coming out of the MICA project are:

  • A comprehensive assessment of stakeholders and stakeholders’ needs in raw materials intelligence;
  • A collection of relevant raw materials data and the MICA metadata inventory;
  • Various methodologies (“recipes”) to answer raw materials intelligence needs;
  • A Raw Materials Intelligence (Policy) Matrix – to assess EU countries for the capacities, methods and tools employed;
  • The EU-RMICP (European Raw Materials Intelligence Capacity Platform);
  • The Raw Materials Foresight Guide.

The MICA final meeting was concluded with an endnote discussing the future of the MICA platform and the general outcomes of the project.

Presentation and discussion of the MICA platform

LPRC thanks all members of the consortium and third parties for the great work and effort put into the many stages of MICA!

The EU-RMICP will be launched soon, stay tuned!

FORAM at the MIN-GUIDE annual conference 2017, Brussels

The MIN-GUIDE annual conference 2017 was held in Brussels, 13th and 14th of December 2017. The conference was entitled “An Innovation-Friendly Policy Framework along the Mineral Production Value Chain” and intended to provide insights into the “cornerstones and future trends of an innovation-friendly policy framework for exploration and extraction, processing, waste management, and mine closure”.

As part of the MIN-GUIDE conference’s poster section, the FORAM project was presented by LPRC member Luís Lopes. The FORAM project is creating a World Forum on Raw Materials in order to further establish the international cooperation on raw materials throughout its entire value chain. Through the poster, the FORAM project attracted a lot of attention, mainly from institutions who want to be involved as stakeholders in the development of the forum (envisaged to be ready by the end of 2018). The FORAM project aims to connect institutions and persons in its network, understand their needs, and adapt cooperation measures to solve them.

Events

VII Social Science Communication Congress, Burgos

From the 9th to the 11th of October, the VII Social Science Communication Congress (CCSC19) will take place in the University of Burgos organized by the Spanish Association of Science Communication (AECC). CCSC compiles three days of all actors and stakeholders exchanging the latest news on science communication, dissemination and citizen science.

La Palma Research will join the event for the second year in a row and will rank among the 216 speakers coming from Spain, Latin America and Portugal by presenting their MacaroNight project approach in the flash oral session “Receivers of the Social Communication of Science” focusing on the special status of islands the 10th of October at 11:30.